Race date: 26 September 2021
Race report by Michael Ingham
The day of a road race finally arrived in Sheffield, or was it 2 days? It certainly seemed like 2 days as the morning half marathon runners were finished leaving the afternoon for the 10K. Two races in one day. Very strange, and very warm at 20C for the time of year.
Still, an afternoon race gave me the chance to be a timekeeper at Hillsborough Junior parkrun in the morning and watch the kids enjoying themselves on their way to becoming the road racers of tomorrow, and a new course record time was set too. Then it was back home to prepare for an unusually late race time.
Having carefully looking after my half marathon number for absolutely ages a 10K number appeared in the post a few weeks ago. So much has happened that I can’t even remember if I deferred to the 10K but the number while a surprise was very welcome. I’d discounted the idea of the half marathon as I’d run the Great North Run only 2 weeks previously and the days of running longer distance races week in week out are long gone. On call 24/7 for 23 years took its toll and road racing had become a thing of the very distant past for me. Running to work & back had become my regular daily sessions. While I’d sooner be mid 30s and racing every week, retirement meant I could start road racing again and be more selective. I had run a few races including the Sheffield 10K in 2019 but then covid hit us all. For me a niggling knee injury for the past few months has held me back but I was determined to run the races I’d entered and had been cancelled due to covid.
The 10K is was to be then but well aware of the gruelling first 5K climbing, climbing, climbing to Riverdale Road. A road that at first appears to give relief from climbing, but no, a short descent into a dip leads to another climb before the real downhill of Brocco Bank appears with a sharp right turn. “Thank goodness” is the sigh I hear from runners as they finally realise it’s downhill, mostly, until the finish.
After a steady run back down, yes it really is down Ecclesall Road and the pace noticeably picks up. Wait though, approaching Charter Row, isn’t that a final twist with a rise to Furnival Gate? Fear not though, it’s very short and now is the time to gather oneself for the final run along Arundel Gate to the finish but as we turn left at the roundabout surely the start & finish line has been moved further away from where it was when we set off. It always seems that way.
Anyway, dig in but remember to smile for the cameras clicking away to record the last few steps then over the timing mats and another race completed. Once over the finish line it’s time to relax and walk along for the bag of goodies and a well earned bottle of water, say cheers, and get ready for another race !
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